Question: Patents that are close to my invention or abandoned or expired, can I still be granted a patent for my invention?
Question Detail: I ordered a patent search from legalzoom.com. There were 15 possible “problems” meaning 15 inventions that were close to mine. The inventions closest to mine are either abandoned for failure of office actions or expired because they didn't pay the fees.
Answer: For purposes of determining patentability, expired and “abandoned” patents are relevant. Whether the patents are relevant includes the question of whether those patents make your invention obvious.